At an earlier point in his career, Lanny Davis actually did something meaningful with his life by defending Bill Clinton from impeachment. But he scraped the bottom of the barrel during the Gaza war by signing up as a “senior advisor” and “spokesperson” for the Israel Project, one of the rightist pro-Israel groups that never met an Israeli war it didn’t like.
There was one curious statement in the press release touting his joining the ranks of the hasbara brigade:
Mr. Davis, who will be available to appear on U.S. and international TV, radio, print and Internet outlets on short notice if necessary, will be speaking independently only for himself, as a private citizen, and, like The Israel Project, does not speak on behalf of the Israeli government nor is he (or they) under any instruction or influence by the Israeli government.
It seemed Davis was desperate to maintain the illusion of independence when in fact he, like the Israel Project, was essentially flogging for the war against Gaza. I read that phrase “nor is he (or they) under any instruction or influence by the Israeli government.” Why would they feel the need to say this? Methinks they do protest too much.
So just how independent is the Israel Project from the Israeli government? Well, from the looks of this web page, not very. Look down the list of other spokespeople signed up by the Israel Project for Gaza hasbara duty: IDF Col. Miri Eisin, IDF Maj. Avital Leibovitz, Mark Regev, UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev, etc. In fact, of the eleven spokespeople listed only three do NOT work for the Israeli government (and those three work for the Project). But two names stand out for a different reason: Jeremy Issacharoff is deputy chief of mission at the Israeli embassy in Washington. He happens to be married to another person on the list. But surprisingly, she isn’t listed under her married name, but under her maiden name: Laura Kam.
Why would she try to hide this connection? Perhaps because she works for the Israel Project and is desperate to avoid any appearance of collusion between the embassy and the group. In other places online this information is revealed. So why wouldn’t it be on the Project’s own site?
So is there collusion? Funny you should ask. During the Gaza war, the Israel Project, dutiful shills that they are, translated and promoted a letter written by an Israeli soldier which explained to Gazans why he was forced to live and sleep in their home during the war. The letter is quite a deft, though transparent bit of sophistry which defends the war while purporting to be sensitive to the feelings of the Gazans.
But what’s especially interesting is that the Israeli embassy (yes, the one at which Jeremy Issacharoff works) also touted the very same letter in its own press release. A coincidence? If it is, I’ve got a bridge and some swamp land in Florida to sell you.
Can I prove that the Israel Project is bought and paid for by the Israeli government? Not yet. But there’s so little room between them that one may as well be an adjunct of the other. So I urge anyone reading this, especially those in the media or U.S. government to be wary of any message you hear from this organization. It is NOT independent of the Israeli government. It is an extension of it.
You should also keep in mind that the Project’s agenda is the same as the Israeli government. The former is among the Israel lobby groups ginning up a war against Iran (Americans Open To Force To Rein In Iran On Nukes is but one representative sample of the genre). So when you read anything from the Project advocating a military solution to the Iran issue, know that this propaganda comes to you courtesy of the hasbara machine of the Israeli government, despite any disclaimers to the contrary (“TIP is not related to any government or government agency”–yeah right).
This is especially important in light of the Jane Harman eavesdropping episode. When a U.S. representative or government official speaks to a representative of TIP, they should in future keep in mind that they are not speaking with an independent, dispassionate voice for truth as TIP would have them believe. Jane Harman proves that the Israeli spy apparatus in this country has its hooks into everything and anything that can provide an advantage in the battle to advance Israel’s message with the American people. Caveat emptor.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.